Hodder pre-empts 'moving' family memoir The Lost Café Schindler

Hodder pre-empts 'moving' family memoir The Lost Café Schindler

Hodder & Stoughton has pre-empted a "unique" and "meticulously researched" family memoir, The Lost Café Schindler by Meriel Schindler, centred on a family business and spanning two centuries and two world wars.

Hodder & Stoughton non-fiction publisher Rupert Lancaster acquired UK, Commonwealth and translation rights in the book from Ben Dunn at Dunn Literary, remarking that alongside a family history it also tells the untold story of the Jews of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The memoir centres on the famous Café Schindler, which, Hodder said, launched in 1922 as an antidote to the horrors of the First World War, becoming the whirling social centre of Innsbruck—until the Nazis arrived.

The synopsis for the book reads: "Kurt Schindler was an impossible man. His daughter Meriel spent her adult life trying to keep him at bay. Kurt had made extravagant claims about their family history. Were they really related to Franz Kafka and Oscar Schindler, of Schindler's List fame? Or Hitler's Jewish doctor—Dr Bloch? Where exactly was Kurt on Kristallnacht, the night that Nazis beat his father half to death and ransacked the family home? When Kurt died in 2017, Meriel felt compelled to resolve her mixed feelings about him, and to solve the mysteries he had left behind. Starting with a tower of photos and papers found in Kurt's isolated cottage, she embarked on an epic journey of discovery that took her to Austria, Italy and the USA. She reconnected family members scattered by feuding and war. She pieced together a unique story taking in two centuries, two world wars and a family business: the famous Café Schindler."

Schindler said: "Writing The Lost Café Schindler has been a profound personal experience and shown me the restorative power of writing. As well as uncovering extraordinary things about my family, it’s enabled me to reflect on memory, truth and trauma—not forgetting the importance of cake."

Lancaster commented: "Meticulously researched and highly moving, The Lost Café Schindler uses the story of the Café Schindler and the threads that spool out from it to weave together memoir, family history and the untold story of the Jews of the Austro-Hungarian Empire."

Hodder & Stoughton will publish The Lost Café Schindler in hardback, e-book and audiobook in May 2021.